Mechanic Falls council decides fate of town-seized property

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MECHANIC FALLS — The town council on Monday took steps to dispose of six properties that the town acquired on Jan. 16 due to non-payment of taxes.

With a unanimous vote, the council agreed to put the property on 4th Avenue, near Clifford Street, out for bid after instructing Town Manager John Hawley to figure out an amount for a minimum acceptable bid.

The council voted to hold onto the property at 32 Pine Street for six months, giving Hawley additional time to try and locate heirs to the property who live out of state.

The council agreed that the town should retain the quarter-acre property, located on Maple Street across from the Mechanic Falls Post Office, for use as a snow dump.

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The council accepted the agreement Hawley had worked out with the owner of the property at 54 Jordan Road, which allows for the town to deed the property back to the former owner provided he makes full payment of the near $6,000 owned on the property within the next twelve months.

The owners of properties at 57 Winterbrook Road and 14 Tirrell Avenue, Hawley told the council, had made full payment of all taxes and penalties. The council, in turn, agreed that the town could deed the properties back to the former owners.

The council also met with owners of downtown properties to discuss a proposed ordinance amendment which would prohibit using first floor space in the downtown for residential purposes.

While Hawley noted that the ordinance change is a dead issue — the planning board having voted it down — the intent behind the proposal had been to try find ways to preserve the commercial viability of the downtown.

Downtown property and business owners Jay Bryant and Wayne Hackett stated that while they liked the concept of trying to preserve commercial space in the downtown, the restrictive measures called for in the proposed ordinance made no sense given today’s economic conditions.

Both business owners said they would like continue the discussion and were willing to work with town officials to seek ways to improve the downtown’s commercial viability.

In his report, Hawley noted that parts to repair the wood pellet boiler that heats buildings in the municipal complex arrived earlier in the day.

The boiler has been down since a small fire damaged the pellet feeder system last March.

Communications with Ron Kirkendorfer of Northline Energy of Lynnwood, Wash., the United States dealer for the Czech Republic firm that supplied the boiler, broke down several months ago, Hawley reported, and the replacement parts have languished in U.S. Customs in Boston since September.

Hawley said he was finally able to contact the firm in the Czech Republic directly, with the result that he now has the needed parts and expects that firm will have a person here to help with the installation within a week.

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